Many Australian homeowners rely on an air conditioning system to keep their homes cool, and manufacturers now offer buyers several types of air conditioner to choose from. A split-system (or highwall) air conditioner features an internal wall-mounted unit and an external component connected by pipes that contain the refrigerant. If you're trying to decide if this type of system is right for your home, consider the five following reasons why a highwall unit is a good option.
You're on a low budget
A split-system air conditioner helps you keep costs down. A split-system unit costs less to install than a ducted air conditioning system. What's more, you can save on running and maintenance costs throughout the year.
According to Energy Australia, the typical annual cost of a unit used in a small area (10 to 15 square metres) ranges from $27 to $95 a year. In a large area (60 to 70 square metres) the annual cost ranges from $108 to $300. For a low-efficiency ducted system, your annual costs could exceed $1,000 a year. Of course, actual running costs will depend on the model you install, but split systems generally offer a cheaper solution for cooling and heating.
You only want to cool one or two rooms
Ducted air conditioning systems help you manage the temperature throughout your home, but this isn't always necessary in every property. In some houses, you may only need to control the temperature in one room (like the lounge, master bedroom or baby's nursery), and, even then, you may only have problems on particularly hot or cold days.
A split-system air conditioner works well in homes with isolated temperature control problems. For example, temperatures in places like Brisbane and Darwin tend to remain high all the time, whereas Melbourne homes must deal with sporadic days of hot and cold temperatures. In this instance, you may only want to cool (or heat) your bedroom or lounge, and, in this case, a highwall unit is perfect for the job.
You own a period or heritage-listed property
If you own a period or a heritage-listed property, a ducted air conditioning system is often not an option because the necessary installation work is too intrusive or complex. Even if you don't live in a protected property, installation work for a ducted system can still mean you would have to damage features of the home. You may not even have room for the internal unit you would normally need to install in the roof space.
A split-system air conditioner is generally easier to install. You can easily attach the wall unit in any room in the house, and you then only need to connect the unit to an external component using electrical cables and small pipes. While you may still need to take care when installing the system, you can normally install (and remove) split-system units without damaging original features.
You live in a rented property
If you live in a rented property without air conditioning, it's sometimes difficult to get the landlord to agree to install a new system. As such, tenants often decide to install air conditioning at their own cost. While you wouldn't want to pay for an expensive ducted system, a split-system unit isn't too expensive to install when you know you plan to leave the system behind when you move out – especially if you're desperate to keep cool.
Make sure you get the landlord's permission in writing to install the unit, or you may lose money from your security deposit. Of course, some landlords may eventually agree to pay some or all the money, and the low installation and running costs of a split-system unit are likely to make this conversation easier. Agree which system you will install with the landlord, too, as he or she may expect you to install a certain brand or type of unit.
Split-system air conditioners can help you keep your home cool (or warm) inexpensively and without major installation work. Talk to your local supplier for more details of the systems available to you.